Travel Talk – A Backpacker’s Guide to Preparing Your Outdoor Arsenal
It’s all in the preparation. “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail,” “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” Quotes from Ben Franklin and Chris Bradford. Or, as Shakespeare said in his Henry V play, “All things are ready, if our mind be so.” I think, out of these 3, Shakespeare (or Henry) would have been the worst backpacker.
Everything is not ready until you have properly packed. You want to do your best to minimise risk and foresee certain situations that could land you in trouble. You also want to make sure you don’t need to spend too much money buying things on the run when they can be had cheaper with proper planning. Here are a couple of tips to guide you while preparing your outdoor arsenal.
Don’t Get Caught in the Dark
A good-quality torch is a must-have. Browse these high quality led torches to find one you like, and that is going to serve your needs. If you are planning on trekking through the wilds, you will definitely need a torch that is bright, durable, long-lasting, relatively lightweight and compact. Getting a quality torch with these perks might cost you a little more, but having a quality torch is an essential item.
In particular, a ceramic pocket knife. These will stay up to 10 times sharper than conventional steel knives. A good-quality knife if an essential item for every backpacker and outdoor enthusiast, used for cutting cardboard or rope, food products, and will come in handy in numerous situations. You don’t need to go for a Rambo-sized blade, something small and compact that you can carry on your belt is the best option.
Paracord Survival Belt
If you plan on wearing pants (another essential item), then you will most likely need a belt. So, why not go for a paracord survival belt? These belts hold an inner paracord that, when unravelled from the belt can be used to hold over 200 kilograms, as well as being used to support temporary shelters, as a tourniquet, amongst other functions. This is one simple way to foolproof your adventure without taking up extra space.
If you’re going for a long hike in the great outdoors then you will need more than a 600ml water bottle to sustain you. A hydration pack that holds a few litres will keep you going for a while. One of the last things you want is to run out of water in the middle of nowhere. Look for a good hydration pack that is lightweight and easy to carry without getting in the way of your other equipment. They can be used for long hikes and just day to day living.
A lightweight rain jacket is an important line of defense against the elements to keep you warm and dry in the outdoors. You want something that’s compact, lightweight, can be rolled and stuffed into your backpack with relative ease, but something that’s also made of quality materials with a strong zipper.
Poor quality jackets have cheap zippers that will catch or break with regular use, leaving you to get soaked through. Ideally you want a jacket that isn’t too heavy so you can wear it in warmer weather and through tropical rain, but also a jacket that is going to keep you warm and dry when needed.
Warm, Tough and Wicking Clothing
Humidity, Rain, and sweat are all going to make you clammy and damp when wearing normal clothing while you hike. Then as the sun sets you are left cold and wet. Investing in some good quality wicking clothing and being sure to layer is a great defense against this. Some wicking shirts and pants also have built in mosquito repellant qualities, perfect for when you are backpacking through regions prone to malaria and other mosquito born diseases.
Prepare yourself as best you can, so that you have the freedom to enjoy your travels and feel calm and in control when things get tricky.
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Image credits (under CCL): feature, Paracord Survival Belt